Tree of Life

As as tree lover I am inspired by huge trees that defy the engineering laws which govern what humans can build. Massive cantilevered limbs projected horizontally for 50 feet or more without bracing. Over 350 feet of height that flexibly withstands all of natures forces. Roots extending out 2 to 3 times the height of the tree anchoring the giant structure and finding water and minerals for growth. All of the carbohydrates needed for its growth are created within its own structure; drawn from the soil, inhaled from the air, and catalyzed by the sun. And I could go on.

Trees silhouette the gospel story. In the garden at the fall of man. In the temple with the glory of God. In the stable, a manger of wood. On Calvary, nailed to the tree. In the end, the mercies of God (the Tree of Life).

Today we were told by the doctors that one of the main drugs which will be used in chemotherapy to treat Tara’s cancer is Taxol. How fitting that the very tool God is using to heal (hopefully) a tree-lover’s wife was derived from a tree (Pacific yew). God is again using a tree to bring about His glory. I pray that this tree will prove to be a tree of life in the Maier family.

Chemotherapy will likely start on Thursday before we are dismissed from the hospital. In the meantime Tara is eager to get her chest tubes out (one of which will be tomorrow). She is sleeping now; beautiful as ever; peaceful at last this day. My baby is bearing a load I wish she would never have to. What deep love and admiration I have for that woman.


19 thoughts on “Tree of Life

  1. She is truly amazing! Tara, I was so encouraged to get a picture of you eating pizza! Your smile is testimony of Christ in you, giving you joy in suffering, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute As we’ve prayed with the kids, they pick up on things and make them their own prayers. Clark prayed for you, Jay, that you would be strong because right now you’re a strong man who doesn’t feel so strong. I wish I had written down exactly what he said — very sweet, indeed. You are constantly in our prayers. Love you all, so much.

  2. Reminded me of one of my favorite verses. Isaiah 61:3. To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of The Lord for the display of his splendor. Grief and mourning definitely don’t only occur in death. Changes, pain, illness, suffering (walking together thru this valley) all bring on grief and mourning. Remember we are pressed but not crushed, perplexed but don’t despair, persecuted but not abandoned- never abandoned. Constantly in my thoughts and prayers. Hopeful the nausea improved. Continuing to lift you all up

  3. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Praying that you will experience unexplainable joy today. Love you all!!

  4. Jay and Tara, I read this the other day but haven’t been able to post it until this morning. I thought of you when I read it. Feb. 8, “Jesus Calling”

    I am above all things: your problems, your pain, and the swirling events in this ever-changing world. When you behold my face, you rise above circumstances and rest with me in heavenly realms. This is the way of Peace, living in the Light of My Presence. I guarantee that you will always have problems in this life, but they must not become your focus. When you feel yourself sinking in the sea of circumstances, say “Help me, Jesus!” and I will draw you back to me. If you have to say that thousands of times daily, don’t be discouraged. I know your weakness, and I meet you in that very place.

    Eph. 2:6; Matt. 14:28-32

    Praying for you and for the Peace that our Father gives.

  5. I only found out about Tara’s condition yesterday and it saddens me that this cancer; which affects so many of God’s people, still has not found a cure. I have prayed for Tara and your family that you may get through this and it is amazing that a tree (something so natural in this world) will be used to treat her condition. The Lord does work in mysterious ways.
    Peace to you and God speed.

  6. Psalm 1:1-3

    1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
    Nor stand in the path of sinners,
    Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
    2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
    3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
    Which yields its fruit in its season
    And its leaf does not wither;
    And in whatever he does, he prospers.

  7. I have been following your journey and praying for both of you, but have debated about writing here as you don’t know me and really, I don’t know you. Our connections are connections of the heart though… I deeply love people that deeply love you (Mark & Mary Claire)… I am your sister in Christ… and I have walked through a cancer journey of my own (Stage 4 Breast Cancer). But still, I hesitate.
    Meeting and talking with “survivors” was extremely hard for me on my own cancer journey. I found little to no encouragement in the survival stories of the masses when in the midst of it all. Most times I wanted to run away, but instead would stand there, listen and whisper a prayer that God would help me say the right thing. Instead my encouragement came from so many others… those who PRAYED for me… that deep down longing of the heart and crying out to God on my behalf… those who didn’t know what to say and who said the wrong thing so much of the time but still stayed and loved and held my hand and cried with me…. Those who spoke truth into my life from the word of God regularly from verses, cards, facebook/blog posts… and so much more! So, I write to you not as a survivor to say… “you will come through this… I did!” But rather as a child of God that wants to share her heart and encourage you.
    As Mark talked about you and your amazing heart and spirit on Sunday morning, so much of our journey came flooding back. It seems like yesterday and forever all at the same time, even though it’s only been 2 ½ years. And now I read that you will start with Taxol… the same one I did! Sweet Tara know that God is right next to you wrapping you in His arms and carrying you through this! And as He does, I am crying out to him that He will sustain you, care for your family, advance His kingdom, heal your body, and most of all bring glory to Himself. What an amazing testimony you already have and what an amazing opportunity to point people towards Him every day! I am lifting you up as you continue your fight against cancer and your work for the Lord. He is doing a mighty work. I can see it!

    So many verses I could share, but these mean so much to me personally!
    Isaiah 43:1-2
    But now, this is what the LORD says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:
    “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

  8. Phil 4: 6-7 ” Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
    Praise God for the rest Tara has had recently. Jay, you are inspiring to us. May God continue to bless you and give you all strength. Praying ferevntly for the Maier family.

  9. How fitting that the background to your blog is gorgeous green grass and beautiful, mature trees.
    Tara, I am thankful that you can find some rest today. Praising Him for that much needed comfort and peace–for you and for Jay. Rest in His arms. Praying today for continued healing and strength as your body will need to endure the next phase–chemo.
    Thank you Maiers for your steadfast faith, your honest words, and your humility before our Savior. Your journey is all glorifying to Him.

  10. We are all praying for all of you! Jay, Your writing is a blessing and a gift! Keep writing! I have a humorous video shot while running with Julie and the dogs, including Hunter, last week, sort of a virtual run for Tara since we run this run with Tara. I’ll share it with her when I get to see her next.
    My mom had Taxol once a week for 12 weeks. I was amazed how well she felt while taking it. And my mom just received a clear CT scan on Monday!
    Love to all the Maiers!!!

  11. This entry reminds me of a day a few years back. After the conclusion of WBS with Tara as my leader, I was walking my boys in their double long stroller in our neighborhood. Much to their delight, we came upon Jay and his team preparing to trim a tree. Jay was suspended mid-air and after my first thought, “Gee, that must be expensive,” I thought of Tara. I whispered a quick prayer, “Lord, keep Jay safe as I know he has a loving family to go home to.” After a bit, we walked on and I really haven’t thought of it since. As God expertly shapes you, sweet Tara, I whisper a prayer for you, “Lord, keep Tara safe as I know she has a loving family to go home to.” Rest well and much love.

  12. I love you. I am praying for you. How good it is to be able to lay our burdens in God’s arms and know that Jesus intercedes for us with the Father. May the Holy Spirit continue to comfort and strengthen you. My kids prayed with me again this morning for you. The little ones have such faith. Have a wonderfully peaceful night’s sleep.

  13. How wonderful that Tara is finally getting some rest. You all continue to be in my prayers and I pray for a good recovery and that the pain is minimal. Thanks Jay for keeping us up to date so we know how to pray. Tonight at the Ash Wednesday service we read from Psalm 51 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from they presence and take not the\y holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of the salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit.

  14. As I was watching Ash Wednesday in 2 minutes by Busted Halo with the kids tonight after church, we were pausing and reflecting on each screen to discuss what it meant. As I read the following:

    “Without community you can not be enriched by others or enrich them” . . .

    I thought of your post asking what we could do to make a larger impact. Jay and Tara you are making an impact larger than you’ll ever know. You are sharing this intimate journey with your community and enriching your community, making us all reflect on what is truly important in our lives. In turn I can only imagine the impact this community will have on all they do, because of you 🙂

    Oh and to share a little giggle that was had at church tonight, our 5 year old looked at the alter and said, “Look mom, all of the grandmas and grandpas are doing the dirt tonight”. The dirt being the ashes, of course, not the grandmas and grandpas dishing out the “dirt” at the alter. Ha!

  15. I am so happy to hear that Tara is sleeping! Yes Jay she is truly amazing, but so are you. I am so thankful to God that he brought you to my sister, your love & respect for her is so apparent, as is your love for our Heavenly Father. I noticed or felt (thinking back, it was God letting me know) that you loved her very much, way back when you were on your Bethel band trip to San Diego and you visited me there. I love you Bro.

    Well God has been showing me many things since hearing about Tara’s cancer. I came home tonight after church & noticed a book that Mom had left here at my house many years ago. It is called “Wisdom from the Bible” Daily thoughts from the Proverbs. I started paging through it, I opened the page to February 6, Mom had written on top of the page “Micalyn Ellen Maier” of course, as this is our sweet Micalyn’s Birthday. Well even more amazing and by no means is this coincidental, as God meant to bring it to me today.

    She is a tree of life to them that lay hold of her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. Proverbs 3:18

    In the Garden of Eden stood two trees: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil & the Tree of Life. There were other trees, but these were the two most important. God forbade Adam & Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, but they disobeyed and ate from it anyway. The story goes that Adam & Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden due to their disobedience. Was it for punishment that God made Adam & Eve leave the Garden, or was it mercy?

    God doesn’t want any of us to suffer, especially eternally. His action with Adam & Eve made it impossible for them to eat from the Tree of Eternal Life, thus insuring that they could not live forever in their fallen state. In His infinite love, God provided us with another way. He gave us a new Tree of Life, His Son Jesus Christ.

    Christ died (nailed to a tree) to undo the harm done by Adam & Eve’s disobedience. Once He reconciled us to God, God invited us to once more share in the fruit of the Tree of Life. Through Christ, we have the promise of eternity in God’s heavenly home. It is with this promise that we truly attain wisdom.

    PRAYER: Thank you, O Lord, for giving me the chance to have eternal life. Through your love in the life, death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, I have come to know your glory. Amen

    All I can say is WOW! God, you truly are amazing, All the Glory Is Yours! Thank you for loving us so much it hurt!

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